Russian consul in Athens attacked

Attackers on a motorcycle threw a hand grenade at the Russian consulate in Athens, causing no injuries and slight damage, police said.

Background

Diplomatic relations between the Russian Empire and the Greek state were established in September 1828. Both Greece and Russia are full members of some international organizations, including the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Greece is a member of NATO and the European Union.

Greece has an Embassy in Moscow, and three Consulates General: in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg and in Novorossiysk. Russia has an embassy in Athens and a Consulate General in Thessaloniki.

Analysis

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the early morning attack on the consulate in the Athens suburb of Chalandri. Police had cordoned off the area.

The device exploded beneath a guard booth in the compound of the consulate but was thought to be low-density explosive. “The material damage was small and there were no injuries,” a police spokesman told Reuters.

Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “unreservedly condemned” the attack.

“Our traditional and centuries-old ties of friendship and cooperation with Russia are not going to be affected by such unlawful and utterly condemnable acts,” it said in a statement.

Small-scale attacks on businesses, police, politicians and embassies are frequent in Greece, which has a long history of political violence.

A burnt-out motorcycle found shortly after the incident in the central Athens district of Exarchia was being examined as the possible getaway vehicle of the attackers.

In 2016, a security guard was wounded in a similar incident at the French embassy in central Athens.

“It would be very early to share further evidence. The anti-terrorism unit is now handling the case. We had similar attacks in the past, one particular attack was very similar,” the official said, referring to the attack on the French embassy.

Assessment

Our assessment is that attacks on foreign embassies are orchestrated by non -state actors protesting the domestic policies of the foreign country in question. We believe that until the police complete the investigation, it is uncertain who and why they attacked the Russian consulate in Athens. 

Image Courtesy: www.zambia.mid.ru (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Embassy_of_Russia_in_Lusaka.jpg), „Embassy of Russia in Lusaka“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode